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Whenever a horror movie is accompanied by the infamous “based on a true story” subtitle, you know you’ll be in for an especially scary time and Annabelle Comes Home is no exception. 

The Annabelle series is a spin-off of The Conjuring films about the hauntings and possessions investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, based on the tales of the real-life paranormal investigators. Their real-life work has been the basis for a ton of famous horror films, including The Haunting in Connecticut and The Amityville Horror. The couple kept haunted artifacts and possessed items in their Occult Museum and Annabelle, the demon doll, was one of the malevolent museum objects they feared the most.

Annabelle | Photo by Rich Fury/FilmMagic

The origins of Annabelle 

The real-life Annabelle doll is a vintage Raggedy Ann doll that a mother purchased for her daughter, Donna in 1970. 

Soon after Donna brought the doll home, where she lived with her roommate, Angie, it became clear that something was very wrong. 

The doll seemed to move around the apartment on its own. It would change positions and eventually transport itself to different rooms. In several instances, Donna would place the doll on the living room couch only to find it in her room on her bed with the door shut. During one of these instances, Donna found the doll on her bed covered in a red liquid substance that appeared to be blood. 

The doll also began leaving messages on parchment around the apartment, even though Donna and Angie did not own parchment. The messages would say “Help Us” or “Help Lou” (Lou, being a friend of Donna and Angie’s fiance).  Roughly a month after these strange occurrences began, Donna and Angie contacted a medium and held a seance with the doll. 

The medium revealed that the doll was possessed by a spirit of a young girl named Annabelle Higgins, who felt comforted by Donna and Angie and wanted permission to inhabit the body of the doll to stay with them. Touched, Donna and Angie allowed “Annabelle” to inhabit the doll’s body, not knowing who or what they had released… 

The haunting of Annabelle

Soon after, the strange occurrences became violent.

One night, Lou and Angie heard strange noises coming from Donna’s bedroom. Afraid that someone was trying to break into their home, Lou went to investigate and found nothing but Annabelle in the corner of the room on the floor. As he got closer to the doll, he felt the presence of someone behind him.

As he began to turn, he found himself doubled over and covered in blood with seven distinct claw marks on his chest. The three were convinced that something malicious had entered into their lives and contacted the church for help. An Episcopal priest named Father Cooke contacted Ed and Lorraine Warren for their help. 

Lorraine and Ed Warren
Lorraine and Ed Warren | Photo by Russell McPhedran/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

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Annabelle comes home

The Warrens and Cooke exorcised the apartment and removed the doll from the area, revealing that the doll was not inhabited by a young girl at all. It was being manipulated by a malevolent inhuman spirit. 

The Warrens agreed to take Annabelle home with them and placed the doll in the backseat of their car. During the drive, the car stalled and repeatedly experienced brake and power steering failure, nearly resulting in fatal collisions. After covering the doll in holy water and placing a sign of the cross on top of it, the car disturbances ended and the Warrens were able to arrive home safely. 

After more strange and creepy occurrences continued in the Warren household, the couple had a special case built for the doll with a sign that reads “Warning: Positively Do Not Open” and placed it in the Occult Museum. Visitors of the museum who taunted or mocked the doll all experienced fatal or nearly fatal accidents upon leaving. Today, Annabelle the doll still resides in the Occult Museum in Connecticut where visitors can see it up close and in person… 

Annabelle Comes Home is currently playing in theaters.